2000 Honda Accord

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2002 Honda Accord

This 2002 review is representative of model years 1998 to 2002.
By Dan Jedlicka of MSN Autos
Rating: 7

Bottom Line:

Still on everyone's "best buy" list.
Pros:
  • Roomy
  • Spacious
  • Responsive
Cons:
  • Bland styling for sedan model
  • Pricey V6 models
  • Low-powered base sedan engine

It should be no secret by now that this is the last year for the current-generation Honda Accord, which replaced the Toyota Camry as the top-selling car in America last year. Honda thus is selling "bargain" versions to keep up interest in the Accord until the 2003 model year arrives.

The new-generation model reportedly will have slightly more room and power, but will remain basically conservative. Although innovative, Honda is essentially a conservative outfit.

Tougher Competition
The first Accord debuted in 1976. The current-generation model arrived in 1998 and was given slightly revised styling for 2001, along with more standard features and refinements. It still doesn't look or feel dated, although a new model is needed to combat the all-new 2002 Camry and Nissan Altima.

The Accord comes as a front-drive coupe and sedan. The sedan accounts for approximately 85 percent of Accord sales because the Accord is mostly considered a family car.

The coupe looks sleeker than the sedan, which has bland styling and shares only headlights and door handles with the coupe.

European Feel
The coupe's firmer suspension gives it sharper moves, but the sedan also is fun to drive. It feels more European than Japanese, with quick steering, sure braking and a race-car-style fully independent double-wishbone suspension that provides a supple ride and adroit handling.

Still, the base DX sedan would handle better if larger wheels and tires replaced its narrow 14-inch wheels and 70-series tires. The mid-range LX and higher-line EX trims have 15-inch wheels and wider 65-series tires.

Roomy Interior
There is plenty of room for four tall adults in the quiet, plain but functional interior, which has high-line materials. The front bucket seats are very supportive, gauges are easily read and the large controls work smoothly. However, getting in and out of the coupe's backseat calls for contortions.

A large windshield allows an excellent view of the road, but a high rear parcel shelf makes it impossible to see the sedan's back end through the rear window—a drawback during parallel parking maneuvers.

Large Trunk
While large, the trunk has old-fashioned manual hinges and a high opening on coupe trims. The sedan's one-piece rear seatback has a lock but is cumbersome and should sit flatter when folded forward to enlarge the cargo area. The coupe has a more convenient. split-folding rear seat.

Accord base prices go from $15,500 to $25,300, with V6 trims being more expensive.

Bargain Trims
The bargain trims are a $20,850 SE (Special Edition) coupe and sedan based on the top-line Accord LX four-cylinder automatic-transmission trim—and a $17,300 VP (Value Package) trim based on the entry DX sedan with an automatic transmission.

Standard items for the top-selling LX include air conditioning and power windows, mirrors and door locks. Features that set the SE apart from other LX models include a tilt-and-slide moonroof with a shade, 15-inch alloy wheels instead of wheel covers, keyless entry, security system, AM/FM/cassette/CD sound system, simulated wood interior trim (or silver accents) and a power driver-seat height adjuster.

The SE sedan comes in a variety of colors, but the SE coupe is offered only in Nighthawk Black and Taffeta White.

The VP has standard air conditioning and an AM/FM/cassette/CD sound system with six (instead of two in the regular DX) speakers for more appeal to young drivers. It also has simulated wood trim, body colored door handles and moldings for a more upscale look, "exclusive" wheel covers and chrome window trim. Colors are limited to Eternal Blue and Satin Silver.

Estimated Savings
Honda said the special items save SE buyers about $1,500 and VP buyers approximately $1,000.

The entry DX sedan has a fair, but far from impressive, amount of standard equipment. It includes a tilt steering wheel, AM/FM/cassette, manual driver-seat height adjuster, tachometer, folding rear seat and rear window defroster.

The DX has a 135-horsepower four-cylinder engine, but the base model of the rival Ford Taurus has a 155-horsepower V6. Asked why all Accords don't have a standard V6, Honda worldwide boss Hiroyuki Yoshino smiled and told this writer in Japan last year that there is "an appropriate size for everything." As we said earlier—a conservative outfit.

Most Order Four-Cylinder
Many Accord sedan buyers apparently agree that four cylinders are enough because most order the 2.3-liter, 135- or 150-horsepower 4-cylinder. But engine price probably has a lot to do with that because Accord V6 models start at $22,600.

The 135-horsepower engine needs the standard 5-speed manual gearbox for the best acceleration. But it's lazy outside town with the 4-speed automatic transmission, which is responsive but occasionally shifts abruptly.

Still, the 135-horspower engine delivers the best fuel economy: an estimated 26 mpg in the city and 32 on highways with the manual transmission and 23 and 30 with the automatic.

The Accord coupe comes only with the 150-horsepower 4-cylinder or the smooth 200-horsepower V6, which provides 20 and 28 mpg.

No Manual Gearbox for V6
While offered for 4-cylinder Accords, the manual gearbox isn't available with the V6—an unhappy situation for a car with such a sporty feel.

The 150-horsepower 4-cylinder provides good acceleration to highway speeds, but an average 65-75 mph passing time. However, it loafs at 70 mph and provides an estimated 23 mpg in the city and 30 on highways even with the automatic. Figures are 25 and 32 with the manual gearbox.

The Accord long has been refined and durable, with above-average resale value. While a new-generation model is on the horizon, the current one is a solid buy.

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BB01 - 7/28/2014 5:55:59 AM